Finding top level directory sizes with Linux

If you need to find out where the hard drive space on your Linux server has been taken up, here is a suggestion.

From the root directory if you use:

sudo du -h

You get an unmanageably long list of all the subdirectories on your system.
If you direct the output to a file however, you can use egrep to provide a useful summary, just showing the totals for the top level directories:

sudo du -h > ~/dirsize.txt
egrep ‘^[0-9.MKG]+[[:space:]]+./[a-z]+$’ dirsize.txt

Consuming a web reference in a class library with C# and .NET 3.5

Since .NET 3.5 you can’t add a web reference to a class library project, so how can you access web services?

Actually it is much easier.

  1. Right click the Class Library project and select Add Service Reference…
  2. Add the URL of the Web Service and click Go
  3. Give it a meaningful Namespace then click OK

Visual Studio will add a Service References folder and a system.serviceModel to the app.config file.

To invoke methods of the web service, first you create an instance of the SoapClient class then just use that object:

MyService.WebService1SoapClient myClient = new MyService.WebService1SoapClient();

In my example above MyService is the Namespace I used in the Add Service Reference dialog.

That is all there is to it.

VirtualBox 64-bit guest support using an Intel Core 2 Duo processor

2d_62I was hoping that I would be able to use 64 bit Ubuntu and Centos as virtual machines in Sun’s free VirtualBox software on my desktop PC that has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor – after all it is 64 bit. But I’m only running 32 bit Vista.

This shouldn’t have been a problem with VirtualBox.

However, it turns out that a small selection of Core 2 Duo processors aren’t able to do this. The processor needs to have hardware virtualization support, which Intel has termed VT-x or ‘Intel Virtualization Technology’.

List of Core 2 Duo processors and support for VT-x

Anyway, I’m unlucky as the E4300 is one of the very few that don’t support this feature, so I can’t run the 64 bit versions.

Watch out for calculations with MySQL unsigned integers


Unsigned integers are a useful column type in MySQL if you want to make your tables as small as possible. Making tables small is a good idea because at the end of the day, database access is limited by hard drive access speed and if there is less data to read, you will access it faster.

A signed MEDIUMINT has the range -8388608 to 8388607, whereas an UNSIGNED MEDIUMINT goes from 0 to 16777215. If you are sure your number is NEVER going to be negative, then you can save 1 Byte per row by using an UNSIGNED MEDIUMINT instead of an INT.

However – do make sure that any calculations you do in your SQL never involve negative numbers.

Lets set up a simple example, a table with signed and unsigned columns:

CREATE TABLE  `temp` (
`id` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL auto_increment,
`myUnsigned` mediumint(9) NOT NULL,
`mySigned` mediumint(8) unsigned NOT NULL,
INSERT INTO `temp` (myUnsigned,mySigned) VALUES (1,1);

Now here’s a simple calculation:

SELECT myUnsigned – 10, mySigned – 10 FROM `temp`;

And the results:

myUnsigned  – 10 = -9
mySigned – 10 = 18446744073709551607

I would prefer it if MySQL could issue some kind of error and fail, but instead it produces this stupidly high number. Watch Out!